Vegan tote bags are a practical choice if you need a bag that will fit all your essentials – whether that’s your laptop, your beach gear or your baby’s food and diapers.
A vegan tote can be fashionable, as well as practical. Vegan leather totes tend to be stylish additions to your outfit, while cloth tote bags are foldable and perfect to take with you shopping (helping you stay zero waste!) or to the beach.
If you’re looking for more vegan bags, see my full guide to vegan handbags here.
Some of the vegan leather tote bag brands I’ll be reviewing include:
- Matt & Nat
- Pixie Mood
- Melie Bianco
- Watson & Wolfe
- Angela Roi
- JW Pei
- Jill Milan
- Alexandra K
- Stella McCartney
Here are the top faux leather tote bags:
Special features: 100% vegan, sustainable materials, sweatshop-free
Free United States shipping
My top pick: Sophie vegan leather tote bag
Labante is a sustainable, sweatshop-free vegan bag company offering free shipping in the US and UK.
Their range of vegan leather tote bags is full of timeless pieces that will stay in style for years, but my top pick is the Sophie black vegan leather tote.
If you’re looking for vegan tote bags for work, the Sophie tote is elegant and will match any work outfit. It even comes with a matching black pouch to help you stay organised.
It fits a 14-inch laptop and closes with a zipper.
Special features: 100% vegan brand, free shipping to the US and Canada
My top pick: TIPPI vegan tote purse
GUNAS has been making vegan bags since 2009, and they have a wide range of styles, including ethical tote bags.
My top pick is the TIPPI, a vegan laptop tote that can hold up to a 15-inch laptop. The red hue is perfect for adding a pop of color to outfits, and since the tassel is detachable you can use it as a vegan work tote.
It has a zippered top and an internal slip pocket you can use to store money or other items.
Special features: 100% vegan company, free shipping on orders over $100/£70
My top pick: Matt and Nat Abbi tote bag
Matt and Nat is one of the biggest and best-known bag brands and the Matt and Nat tote collection is fairly extensive.
My top pick is the Matt and Nat Abbi tote bag from the Purity collection. This vegan leather tote with zipper is practical, with an interior zippered pocket and an additional interior pocket for your phone. The Purity collection bags are made with recycled materials for both the exterior and the lining.
Their other most popular totes include:
Special features: 100% vegan, free climate positive shipping over $99
My top pick: Alicia Tote II
Pixie Mood is an all-vegan bag company that makes affordable vegan bags.
They have plenty of choices when it comes to vegan tote handbags, and my top choice is the Pixie Mood Ali tote. This Pixie Mood tote bag is a firm fan favorite. It has a top zipper, an interior slip pocket and metal feet. It also comes with a removable pouch, which has crossbody bag straps, so essentially you're getting two bags for the price of one with the Ali tote! Pixie Mood also works with Terrapass on becoming carbon neutral and offset their shipping.
Special features: 100% vegan, sweatshop free
My top pick: Cannes round straw tote
Melie Bianco makes affordable vegan bags.
The Cannes is ideal if you're looking for a summer bag. Vegan tote the Cannes is made of handwoven straw. It comes with a round handle, a tassel charm and a zip top closure. Inside it has a slip pocket.
Melie Bianco has plenty of other non leather tote bags to choose from, which you can find here.
Special features: 100% vegan
My top pick: Maddox tote
Watson & Wolfe is ideal if you're looking for a classic bag. Vegan leather bags in classic styles are their specialty.
My top pick is their Maddox vegan leather tote in black & cobalt (yes, it's definitely blue and black, not white and gold ;)). This large vegan leather tote will fit everything you need - it's spacious enough you could even use it as a weekend travel bag! (To see my full guide to vegan weekend bags & luggage, click here.)
The Maddox is made with premium vegan Italian leather, and vegan leather handles. The inside is lined in cobalt blue and contains a zippered pocket. There's an exterior slip pocket and three popper buttons to adjust the opening of the bag. It fits a 15 inch laptop. This black vegan tote also has feet on the base.
Special features: 100% vegan, uses sustainable materials
My top pick: Maya cactus vegan leather tote
Luxtra is a vegan bag company that uses eco friendly leather alternatives like apple leather and cactus leather.
A perfect vegan work bag, the Maya is my top pick. It's the first vegan bag I've seen made out of cactus leather (how cool!). It fits a 15 inch laptop, your reusable coffee cup, notebook and other work essentials. This vegan leather work bag has four internal pockets, one with a zipper and a reinforced base.
Special features: Vegan bags made with recycled ocean plastic
My top pick: The Essential Tote in Pink Prism
Rothys makes bags and shoes out of ocean-bound plastic, making their bags a great eco-friendly choice.
The Essential is a large vegan tote bag that would work perfectly as a beach bag. I love the bright colors of it in Pink Prism for a summer's day on the beach. The shoulder bag is big enough to fit your book, sunglasses and a towel - or your laptop if you want to use it as a travel bag. This stylish, modern vegan tote has an interior zippered pocket and a magnet that attaches to the Essential Pouch, which you can buy separately to keep you organised.
Special features: 100% vegan luxury handbags
My top pick: Cher tote
Angela Roi makes luxury vegan bags in mostly timeless designs.
The Angela Roi Cher tote is top pick. Made with a soft vegan leather, this Angela Roi tote has a top closure with a magnetic button, four bottom studs and a center zippered compartment. It's a classic vegan leather handbag, and will work for all outfits and occasions, dressing up or down.
Special features: 100% vegan affordable bags
My top pick: Clara tote in beige canvas
JW Pei makes affordable vegan bags and has one of the biggest ranges I've come across. Whether you're looking for a crossbody bag, a satchel or of course a tote, they've got it all.
My pick for a tote bag is the Clara canvas bag. This canvas tote comes with a vegan leather shoulder strap. It contains one slip pocket and looks nice and roomy for all your things.
Special features: 100% vegan luxury bags, handmade in Italy
My top pick: Wianno tote in gold & black
Jill Milan's designer vegan bags are made in an atelier in Italy that have been making luxury bags for generations. Jill Milan started the company in 2010 after searching for years for a company that made luxury vegan bags in classic styles, and their aim is to make well-made bags in timeless designs that will last a long time.
My pick of totes is the Wianno, in gold and black. It's big enough to fit your iPad and other necessities. It has a zippered pocket inside and two extra pockets for phones. It's made of gold-coated canvas and black faux leather and lined in cotton.
Special features: 100% vegan company
My top pick: Shopper Black Grape
Alexandra K is a vegan bag maker based in Poland.
My pick is the Shopper in Black Grape. This black vegan leather tote bag is made with grape leather, an innovative vegan leather that uses waste from the wine industry!
The inside is lined with fabric and contains a slip pocket. The top fastens with tied strings or a side lobster closure.
Special features: Vegan-friendly company, all vegan bags
Stella McCartney is a vegetarian designer and so she doesn't use any leather or fur in her designs; however she does use wool and silk so not everything in her range is vegan. Her bags and shoes, however, are all vegan.
The Falabella tote bag has now become a designer classic since launching a few years ago, having become a favorite of many celebrities. It features a press stud fastening and top handles, plus a slip pocket, and its signature silver chain.
As well as the classic Falabella tote, you can find variations such as the Falabella maxi tote, fold-over tote and raffia tote.
If you're looking for more designer bags, see my guide to vegan designer bags here.
Features: 100% vegan company
My top pick: Weekender tote
Doshi is an all-vegan bag manufacturer.
Their Weekender tote is perfect for travel or to use as a diaper bag. It features a zippered top, a sleeve that will fit a 15-inch laptop and five interior slip pockets, plus a crossbody strap you can use to carry lighter loads.
Features: 100% vegan, uses eco friendly cork
My top pick: Cork Gold Basket Bamboo bag
Studio Cork specializes in bags made of cork, which is an extremely eco-friendly material, thanks to the fact cork trees need little input in the way of water or fertilizer, and can be harvested without killing the tree. It's also naturally water-impermeable and makes an extremely sustainable alternative to leather!
My pick is Studio Cork's gold bamboo basket bag, which features laser-cut gold textured cork in a geometrical cut-out design, bamboo handles and a zippered red fabric bag inside. It closes with snap tabs on the side and the bag inside zips shut. It also has a tassel charm.
Are tote bags good for the environment?
Lots of people use tote bags or canvas bags for food shopping and wonder if they're actually better than plastic bags (which you now need to pay for in some locations). The truth is that it's complicated, because cotton bags take more resources to produce, and may need to be used hundreds or thousands of times to more eco-friendly than plastic - but they don't contribute to the plastic pollution problem in waterways like plastic bags do. The best bag to use is one you already have, so don't buy a bag specifically for shopping unless secondhand, and be sure to use the bags you have as long as possible, and recycle any plastic bags that you can't use any more.
What's a tote bag used for?
Tote bags can be used for work, as a weekend bag or diaper bag, or as a beach bag, since they tend to be large and roomy and have lots of space to store your things. If you're worried about pickpockets, be sure to get one with a zippered top, and be mindful of the fact that a heavy bag carried on one shoulder isn't great for your back so shouldn't be carried frequently or for long time periods. You're better off with a backpack in those cases.
What are tote bags and can they be used for school?
A tote bag is a bag, usually rectangular in shape, with two parallel handles that emerge from inside the bag. They tend to be medium to large in size and are often unfastened on top, although many come with zippers or snap closures. They are useful for carrying many things as they tend to be quite large, and are often used to carry a laptop or even as a weekend bag. They can certainly be used for school, but be mindful that when carried for long amounts of time with heavy loads, they aren't good for your back and can cause back, neck and shoulder pain. So if you have to carry a lot of books for school you're much better off with a backpack, which will distribute the weight more evenly and won't hurt you.
What's a vegan bag?
Simply put, a vegan bag is made without the use of any animal products like leather. Some bags are naturally vegan, such as canvas tote bags, and some are intentionally made vegan, like those made with vegan leather.
What are vegan bags made out of ?
Vegan bags can be made from a huge range of materials -- cotton, cork, jute or vegan leather, whether that's polyurethane or apple leather.
Are vegan bags eco-friendly?
They can be and often are! While in the past many vegan shoes and bags were made with PVC, which is very detrimental to the environment (Greenpeace called it a "poison plastic"), and should be avoided, that is rarely used nowadays. Most manufacturers use alternative materials that are more eco-friendly, including sustainable options in the list above like cork, cactus leather or grape leather, made with leftover waste from the wine industry. Rothys makes their bags from recycled plastic, thereby preventing it from ending up in the ocean. Other manufacturers use polyurethane, which is a plastic, but is ranked as more eco-friendly than leather on the Higgs index. However, if you want a really eco-friendly option, then I recommend cork!
Are vegan bags expensive?
Vegan bags come in a wide range of price points, from Stella McCartney at the high end to JW Pei's affordable vegan bag collection. If you're on a very tight budget then I recommend looking secondhand, either at a charity shop near you or online on eBay or a secondhand app. A bonus is that as well as being good for the wallet, shopping secondhand is a sustainable alternative - by purchasing an already existing product, you're reducing demand for the creation of new goods, which always takes up more resources. And in today's fast fashion dominated apparel industry, that's a great thing, and an alternative to the seemingly endless creation of new goods inspired by fast fashion.
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Looking for more vegan bags? See my full guide to vegan handbags here.
I also have a guide to vegan crossbody bags here.
Prefer a backpack? Check out my guide to vegan backpacks here.
Find all my vegan beauty & fashion guides here.